The Blue Jays made a surprising move at the trade deadline, acquiring left-hander Francisco Liriano, catcher Reese McGuire and outfielder Harold Ramirez from the Pirates for right-hander Drew Hutchison. The move, which appears to be a salary dump for Pittsburgh, was first reported by Robert Murray of FanRag Sports.
Pittsburgh will save about $17 million in the deal, as Liriano is under control for next season as well. On its face, the move is a shocking one for a Pirates team still thought to be in contention.
Prior to landing Liriano, the Jays had acquired Mike Bolsinger from the Dodgers for Jesse Chavez as well as Scott Feldman from the Astros. Liriano though is the biggest name acquired so far, along with outfielder Melvin Upton Jr.
Liriano has struggled so far this season, posting career-worst numbers in FIP. The 32-year old left-hander has previously had one of the highest percentage of pitches outside of the zone in all of baseball and it appears batters have finally learned to lay off.
Source: Blue Jays get Liriano from Pirates— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) August 1, 2016
Liriano’s walk rate has skyrocketed and his strikeout rate has taken a more modest hit. What seems to have led to the majority of his troubles though is his home run rate. Liriano has surrender 19 home runs this season over 113.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 69 earned runs on 115 hits and 69 walks while striking out 116. Liriano is owed $13.67 million in 2017 before becoming a free agent.
McGuire, 21, was a first-rounder in the 2013 draft and has previously been considered one of the top 100 prospects in baseball. The catcher has spent the year with Double-A Altoona.
Ramirez is a 21-year old outfield prospect currently with Double-A Altoona. He is hitting .312/.360/.409 so far this season in 407 plate appearances.
Hutchison meanwhile has spent the majority of the 2016 season with Triple-A Buffalo. While in the minors, Hutchison has thrown 102 innings, giving up 37 earned runs on 78 hits and 35 walks while striking out 110. He is arbitration-eligible through the 2018 season.
The 25-year old right-hander has shown substantial promise in his young career, but can suffer from control issues with his fastball. By FIP, Hutchison has posted a career 4.23 mark over 406.1 major league innings. That being said, his ERA lags behind at 4.92. The discrepancy—while not huge—is large enough to cause some worry and wonder if Hutchison can become a mainstay at the major league level. Hutchison has two complete game shutouts in his career.